Swimming Pool – Converting to Pond

Q: I have a swimming pool that is partially restored and have decided to fill it in and create a garden spot with possibly a small pond for wildlife to enjoy. It is a Gunite pool and it is currently about 2/3 full of rain water. I will of course be pumping it out. Should I drill holes in the bottom for future drainage? What would be the best choice to fill it in, gravel, sand, dirt? It holds 20,000 gallons of water. Is there someone who could handle the pond planning and installation? Thanks for your help. Your recent advice about shamrocks was helpful and they are now resting for a month or two. I live in Fayetteville.

A: Yes – you should break a few holes in the bottom to allow drainage to occur if possible (although I don’t know if that makes sense if the bottom is set on hard clay). I’d fill it with whatever material is cheaper. You really don’t care what it is until you get within 18 inches of the rim of the pool. You probably should rent a motorized plate compactor to compact 12 inch layers of the fill as it is added…otherwise it might subside over the years.

Fill the last 18 inches of the pool with screened topsoil. It would be easy to buy a pre-formed plastic pond liner and set it in place before the soil is added around it. I’m not sure what you need to “plan” the pond. You can get lots of information on pond plants and pumps and spray heads off the Internet.